Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney believed former manager Louis van Gaal struggled at Old Trafford because he was “too honest”.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager was United’s second manager of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, after leading the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the 2014 World Cup.
But after two seasons of falling out with key players such as Angel di Maria and Robin van Persie, van Gaal was relieved off his services and replaced by Jose Mourinho.
While his FA Cup triumph in his final match at the club was United’s first major trophy after Ferguson’s retirement, his reign at Old Trafford is not looked back upon with much fondness.
And Rooney believes the Dutchman’s sharp tongue and direct style of communication is one reason behind his failure to bring success to the club.
“Tactically, (Louis) Van Gaal was very good, but he was too honest, if you like,” Rooney said in an interview with the Athletic.
“He’d speak to an 18-year-old the same way you’d talk to a 35-year-old.
“It’s about getting that balance right and letting the young lads play without fear.”
Rooney is now applying the lessons he learnt from his previous managers in his own managerial reign at Derby County.
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Despite the Rams' 21 point reduction over the course of the season season, Rooney’s side are certainly not going down without a fight.
They have won three of their last four matches and have put together an impressive winning streak, despite the off-field dramatics that have plagued their season.
And England’s all-time top goal-scorer believes his honest, but “calm” approach is one reason behind his side’s impressive resolve this season.
“Very calm actually – I’m honest with the players,” Rooney said when asked what his own managerial style is like.
“In our first meeting, I said to them, ‘You’ll have your days off to be with your families but, when you are at work, if you’re not prepared to work hard and do it like I want, you can leave now’.
“These are my demands, what I expect, whether that’s the best player, the oldest player, the youngest player, anyone.”
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